CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers will not be punished for their handling of Cam Newton’s injury during a playoff loss to New Orleans on Jan. 7.

The NFL and the Players Association announced Wednesday that Carolina’s medical staff correctly followed concussion protocol guidelines. The league released a statement Wednesday saying it reviewed game footage and medical reports, as well as statements and interviews with Newton and Coach Ron Rivera, before making its determination that “there was no protocol violation.”

After walking off the field with a second-half eye injury, Newton stumbled to the ground near the sideline when asked by trainers to take a knee. The league said it believes the stumble was caused by a previous knee injury.

Newton sat out one play, but returned on the next offensive series and finished the game.

The NFL said Newton had an MRI on Jan. 8 that “confirmed ligament and cartilage damage and very extensive swelling in the knee.”

PATRIOTS: The Patriots did not practice Wednesday but still released a required injury report listing tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive end Deatrich Wise – both with concussions – as non-participants.

Quarterback Tom Brady, who had 12 stitches in his hand after an injury suffered last Wednesday, was not listed on the injury report this week. Listed as limited for practice were Malcom Brown (foot), Mike Gillislee (knee) and LaAdrian Waddle (knee).

PACKERS: Joe Philbin, a Packers assistant from 2003 until 2012, was hired as offensive coordinator, a job he held for his final five seasons before being named Miami’s head coach in January 2012.

The Packers also named Mike Pettine as its defensive coordinator. He was largely out of football the last two years, serving as a consultant with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017.

STEELERS: Running back Le’Veon Bell says he and the team are making progress on a contract extension. The team has presented an initial offer, and Bell says “we are a lot closer than we were last year.”